Surveys Limit Proper Questions To Get The Answers They Want

From time to time, I receive surveys after making a customer service call.  The journey into kicking breast cancer opened up another area where I receive numerous surveys from hospitals and other service providers.

I’ve now decided to toss all surveys when I receive them.  The following is why.

First, I have to thank someone who once called me almost daily with questions.  Her questions never ended without first giving me numerous, multiple choice answers.   At times, I lost count of the number of choices and by the time she placed a period or question mark, I no longer remembered her question.  Her questions were not based on my reality, experience, nor knowledge.

That experience woke me up to the surveys I receive from businesses and organizations.  Most will include a three line block at the end to write comments, but they do not provide where the comment(s) apply to one or more of their questions.  That gives me the impression that whatever is chosen as an answer to the questions is what goes on record, without comment.

It surprised me when I received a survey from the hospital several days after my discharge.  I had been admitted for four days.  I was admitted after taken to the ER by ambulance. For 2 days I called the Cancer Center twice to report having a urinary tract infection.  My then oncologist did not prescribe an anti-biotic and going into the fourth day of having declining white blood cells and excruciating pain, I ended up having a seizure.   Add dehydration, (because he told me to take Benadryl) low blood pressure and allergic reaction to a chemo drug that I practically begged him not to give me, and you can understand how my attitude turned to being distrustful.

Did the survey include a question as to whether I believe my hospitalization was avoidable due to the decisions of my physician?  Nope.

Example of a survey.While I was in the hospital I was visited by at least three different physicians.  The survey asked questions as if only one physician visited me.  Frankly, I have a different opinion about each one.

The Hospitalist was fantastic.  He was informative, educational, never in a rush.   He explained things to me and answered my questions without sounding condescending.  If the Hospitalist was the only physician treating me during my hospitalization, I might have completed and returned the survey.  I could not however, rate him while not rating the two others.

So, I recently received a survey questionnaire from a provider of in-home care services.  The survey is signed by the supervisor of the program and seeks to rate the case manager.  Heck!  I’ve spoken with that same supervisor and she is the person I would like to rate.  Her limited knowledge of the program, and making inappropriate suggestions and asking me inappropriate questions, caused me stress during a very stressful time of just having major surgery, and not receiving the in-home care services they approved me to receive.

The Agreement between myself and the Illinois Department on Aging Community Care Program is clear.  It states in pertinent part;

“If a homemaker has not come to help you within fifteen (15) calendar day, [sic] you may hire your own homemaker (including a friend or relative) to provide the amount and type of Community Care services specified in this Notice.  The Department on Aging will pay the homemaker you have hired …”

At least 5 people with the Department on Aging told me that they did not know how to implement that part of the Agreement.  They threw the matter back to the visiting nurses association that administers the program, whose supervisor said she did not know either.  The only way to “hire” your own homemaker is to send them to an approved agency to HIRE them.  That hiring process takes from 3 to 4 weeks.  Oh — and they have no authority to tell the “employment” agencies to change their policies to comply with the subject clause of the agreement.  It was the same supervisor who sent me a survey to rate the case manager and return it to her.  HA!

The home care “employment agency” is paid $18 an hour and pays homemakers that clients want to hire $10 an hour.  In other words, the clients/patients do the recruiting for them so all the “employment agency” has to do is delay the hiring process until they have enough cash flow from other accounts to process payroll.

Some years ago under another Illinois Governor, personnel used a default excuse that they could not do their jobs because of budget cuts that made them short-staffed.  Now it seems that the default excuse for not doing their jobs is “I don’t know”.

How about doing what the clause in the Agreement says you will do when services have not been received within 15 days of the date the Agreement was signed?

I wrote Illinois Governor Pritzker about the situation and the clause in their agreement that was breached. In response, he referred my letter to the Executive Office for the Inspector General, who forwarded my letter to guess who?  The Illinois Department on Aging – the same agency whose personnel does not know how to implement the subject clause of the Agreement.

Here’s another thing about surveys from health care organizations.  Why is it that when people are ill, those organizations assume that patients have the energy to read, fill-out, and return surveys?

Surveys my big toes!

Posted on 04/25/2019, in cancer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. That’s so frustrating! Stories like this also helps the cases of the Reaganites who argue it’s a bad thing when they hear that, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” (Not that I am a Reaganite by any means, as I believe government can help, but this is a story where government isn’t helpful.)


    • Brendan
      What you say is true. The government is here to help, and in this case it helped by legislating a program for senior citizens. The problem that I see is that rather than keep it under the government, or bidding it out to agencies that had been in business with a track record, they decided to farm it out to privately owned agencies. Things might be more successful in other areas in the state but where I live, it seems that they opened office solely for the purpose to provide the legislated services. That would be okay if they had conducted business and acquired profits outside of doing business with the government. There are reports that with some offices, personnel was not paid for 6 months. That indicates that the agency was waiting for the government to pay invoices.

      They have difficulty hiring homemakers. Who wants to wait a month to be hired for a $10 an hour job? That is probably why the only homemakers the agencies have are those referred to them by patients/clients. Which also indicates that is why the agency requires set schedules. In other words, they want to know when people who patients/clients want to hire are available so they can schedule them to serve new clients, which actually forces those clients to have schedules that are not always beneficial to their needs.

      There was one week when the agency actually wanted to send three different people to my home to help me with meal preparations. (Reduce that to 2 persons because one day, no one showed up.) They were clueless of the medical advice given to chemo patients regarding germs and viruses. There was no way I was taking a chance of having all those strangers in my kitchen and refrigerator.

      Liked by 2 people

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